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The Markets Now: Stocks Pare Losses After Europe, Home Sales Send Stocks Lower


Plus, Gilead Sciences will likely receive approval for its HIV medication.

Stocks have cut some losses after continued fears of financial instability resulting from the Cyprus bailout and weaker pending home sales weighed on the market this morning. The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) decreased 0.29% to 14,517.02. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) dropped 0.25% to 1,559.96, and the Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) fell 0.15% to 3,247.63.

The Mortgage Bankers Association, or MBA, reported today that all the indices of its MBA Weekly Applications Survey increased week-over-week for the week ended March 22. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 7.7% on seasonally adjusted basis and 8% on an unadjusted basis. The Refinance Index increased 8%. The seasonally adjusted and unadjusted Purchase Indices both increased 7%, a 10% year-over-year increase.

The National Association of Realtors reported today that its Pending Home Sales Index fell 0.4% in February to 104.8 following a reading of 105.2 in January. Year-over-year, the index has climbed 8.4%. The Northeast component saw the biggest month-over-month loss with a 2.5% decrease to 82.8, but the component has gained 6.8% year-over-year. The Midwest component saw the biggest gain with a month-over-month increase of 0.4% to 103.6. Year-over-year, the Midwest component gained 13.2%.

For the week ended March 22, the Energy Information Association reported that US crude oil inventories increased 3.3 million barrels week-over-week to 385.9 million barrels, above upper limit of the average for this time of year. US crude imports averaged 8.2 million barrels per day last week, an increase of 841,000 barrels per day from the previous week. Gasoline inventories decreased 1.6 million barrels last week, and distillate fuel inventories decreased 4.5 million barrels last week. Refineries operated at 85.7% of their capacity last week.

The US Treasury auctioned 5-year Treasury notes earlier today at 1 p.m. EDT.

The Department of Agriculture will release its end-of-the-month index of prices received by farmers for March.

Citigroup (NYSE:C) dropped 1.03% to $44.37. The US's third largest bank plans on spending $35 billion in cash to buy higher yielding assets or pay down expensive debt. This use of cash may add up to 2% to the company's bottom line this year.

JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) fell 1.95% to $47.69.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) slide 2.02% to $451.80. Apple filed another claim against Samsung (PINK:SSNLF) yesterday stating that Judge Lucy Koh made a mistake when subtracting 40% from the original $1.02 billion award amount. Apple claims that Samsung's Galaxy II AT&T and Infuse 4G also infringe on its patents and the company is seeking another $85 million in damages.

Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) rose 2.70% to $46.99. On Monday, the European Medicines Agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use gave a positive opinion of its HIV combination pill, Stribild. Gilead believes that it will receive a decision on its Marketing Authorisation Application for the drug in the coming months.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) fell 0.94% to $804.76. Credit Suisse raised its price target for Google from $982 to $847, citing that Google's Enhanced Campaigns will likely result in increased advertising budgets.

Twitter: @ChrisWitrak
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